The stage was Valencia, Spain for the 2006 MotoGP decider. At the front of the grid was the title favourite and championship leader Valentino Rossi, who was gunning for his sixth world title.
Nicky Hayden was still not written out of the championship yet however, though his chances for the crown were looking slim after being taken out of the previous race in Portugal by teammate Dani Pedrosa. 8 points separated the two of them.
It turned out to be a race that nobody expected.
Newly crowned World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss, who had joined the factory Ducati team to replace injured rider Sete Gibernau would go on to win his first and only MotoGP victory with 1.3-second lead.
Rossi crashed and the 16 points that Hayden would gained from third place gave the American a 5-point lead in the overall championship standings and the 2006 crown.
It was Hayden’s first and only world title, won through consistency and with sheer determination to become one of the elite few of motorcycle racing, the race at Valencia has become the stuff of legend.
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